Hugo “TheSwedishJoker” Nilsson Meier, BLIX.GG: es3tag, congratulations on the win! I imagine that it feels really good now when you managed to help FaZe qualify for the BLAST spring finals.
Patrick “es3tag” Hansen: Yeah!
BLIX: Mirage almost went to OT, but you guys managed to close it out. Why do you think that it got so close in the end?
es3tag: I mean, there's a lot of chaos on Team Speak. We definitely had a few, like, communication issues, but other than that, I feel like we were kind of controlling the entire way. We, of course, had some unfortunate rounds, but I felt like, so did they. So that kind of balanced things out a bit and then it eventually went in our favor, right? But for sure we felt like we had the match the entire way, so just happy we avoided overtime.
BLIX: And Ancient looked way more comfortable for you guys this time around than last time when you lost. What changed today compared to the first Ancient game you played against them?
es3tag: First of all, we had, like, the security of it being Overpass third [map] and we're really comfortable on Overpass, but I'd say for Ancient, we were 4-0 down and we're kind of like, "okay guys, let's step it up". And then we managed to just take it all the way. I was really happy with how everyone was playing. Everyone was communicating a lot. Even in situations where [they] didn't need to. People were really chiming in, which always makes it easier that everyone is so engaged. So, it was just a pleasure, honestly, when we started playing those rounds together, we just took it one round at a time, and yeah, eventually we had a really good CT side.
BLIX: Did you feel any pressure coming into this final game?
es3tag: No, like I said, for me personally, there's always the jitters of missing out on a strat because they have a lot of different callouts, obviously, and a lot of different strats. So, my fear is I'm almost always asking just to double-check what I'm doing to make sure I'm not making any mistakes in that regard because I obviously don't want to influence their game. I don't want them to think about “what is Patrick doing? Why is there no smoke there?” et cetera. So, I'm just making sure that my part of the table is clean and then obviously trying to help and offer as much as I think in the mid-round as well.
BLIX: I saw that you had a piece of paper on your desk. Were you looking down at it often?
es3tag: No, I think a lot of the times those are just there for security just in case everything falls through and then ”okay, we can look down the paper. Oh, there's some ideas here”, but mainly, like, Karrigan is a lot “flowy”. Like, he will feel the game. So, it's a lot more on intuition rather than just paper, right?
BLIX: You guys played the same first 2 maps this time as the first time you played OG here. What were the expectations like coming into the game in terms of the veto?
es3tag: I mean, both times we expected the exact veto that happened, so we were never caught off guard, which is, you know, nice, always nice in a BO3. But, yeah, like, Ancient first time around was a bit rough, and the second time around, it feels as if I don't know if they changed a lot, but it felt like we had a better read on them and things started going our way. So that was nice.
BLIX: Now I want to talk a little bit about you. It's been about a week now since you came here to stand in for FaZe. Do you feel like you've learned something new from this period?
es3tag: I mean, besides learning how absolutely sick they are individually. Like, ropz, Twistzz, and broky are just absolute gods, like gods of the game. I've never met an aimer as strong as Twistzz, I think, which is always a pleasure. I'm pleasantly surprised at how good he is. Playing retakes and deathmatch with him, so that was kind of like a surprise to me. And then Karrigan is just really good at chiming in, filling in. And, yeah, it was honestly a pleasure to stand in for this team, because even in 2v5s or 3v5s, I'm just looking and grabbing my popcorn, just really happy watching these insane individuals play. So, it was a pleasure.
BLIX: Could you see yourself standing in for other teams in the future?
es3tag: You never know. I don't want to be the guy who's standing in all the time. I want to get a stable team at some point. But if the right team asks and it's not for, like, too long, then I'll for sure consider it. But I would like to get back on the stable team because it's definitely tough on your mental and rough to constantly stand in. But with FaZe, it was obviously just a breeze. It was just so nice, actually.
BLIX: The last event that you played was the BLAST fall finals with NiP. How long after that did you know that you were getting replaced? Did they give you a heads up or what was the situation like?
es3tag: I kind of had an inkling of it happening. It's always kind of in the back of your head as a player at all times. I'd say in all the orgs if you're not statistically one of the best, you'd often get replaced. But I knew the situation, and we needed an AWPer, so whether it was me or someone else, I wasn't sure. But I'm completely understanding of the situation that we're in, so I don't hold any grudges or anything whatsoever. It's completely fine by me.
BLIX: Do you have any regrets about your time in NiP looking back at it?
es3tag: I think it's maybe the same as what I said in my pre-match interview. I want to be more selfish with what I do for roles because there are roles, I know I'm really good at, roles that also typically give you more or better stats. And I'm just going to have to put my foot down instead of playing like six or seven really supportive roles where all you do is kind of like jump and play for info and you're kind of relying on your teammates a lot to get those good stats when you play those positions. I think I'm going to be more selfish because, at the end of the day, I think I can do a lot more in those roles. Obviously, I don't want to be a star or anything. I just don't want to have six or seven really bad roles. That's about it. That's kind of like my New Year's resolution, I guess that I'm going to have to think more about myself as well.
BLIX: And my last question before I let you go; can you talk to me a little bit about the future? What's it like for you now after this event?
es3tag: I don't know. I don't want to dwell too much on what could happen and what I hope to happen. I'm just going to see how it goes and where it takes me. The scene is exploding all the time and new stuff is happening so fast that I'm not really speculating. So, I'm just going to wait and see what happens. If something nice falls to my doorstep, I'll look at it and maybe take it. It's a one day at a time kind of thing.
BLIX: All doors open?
es3tag: Yeah, I mean, most doors are definitely open.